GAUGING the excitement for the derby between St Helens and Wigan Warriors can be a little difficult for coaches and players in these difficult times.

Covid-19 restrictions mean the men bringing fans a regular Super League feast are in a bubble between work and home, not mixing with fans other than on social media.

In these circumstances, including matches being played behind closed doors, Saints head coach Kristian Woolf - in his first season in charge - said it is difficult to judge the sense of excitement around town for Wigan week.

But he says he is well aware of what this fixture means to people, with a leadership battle adding to the spice when the sides meet at the Totally Wicked Stadium tomorrow, Friday.

“One of the first days I was here there were some fans that were quickly wanting to remind me of the importance of winning these games. Most fans I have spoken to since that day have wanted to make that point as well,” he said.

“I sense an air of excitement among the playing group in that this is the type of game that the players have been wanting for a couple of weeks, wanting that real challenge of a really tough game – a game to get a bit excited about.”